My sister has always been a character, especially when it comes to dress. When she was a little kid, she would hang around our home wearing a bikini, claiming that the perfectly cool weather of Bogota was too hot to wear anything else. She also was one of those kids that obsessed over her Halloween costumes and wore them for months. The most memorable one was of Bella, the Disney princess of Beauty and the Beast. The dress was made in a shiny fabric with golden sequins, and it brought a little crown and shiny plastic heels that matched with it. And I’m pretty sure my sister only stopped wearing it because it fell into pieces after years of use.
Whenever I think of our childhood, the image of my sister walking around the house like a Queen in her golden dress always pops up in my mind. And until a few days ago, I would always laugh at the thought and wonder why would she choose an uncomfortable sequined dress over, for example, comfy PJs or even her go-to bathing suits. But, after feeling like a princess in my own gown a few days ago, I think I finally understand.
I wore this gorgeous pink dress, adorned with tiny little flowers and sprinkled sequins, that made me feel like a princess, to the Apollo Circle Benefit party a few days ago. The weight of the dress kept me from flying away to wonderland, but I think I have never felt as good in my life. And, although living in New York doesn’t really allow me to wear a gown on a daily basis, if I could, I would totally wear it every day!
It is amazing the impact that clothing can have on ourselves, on our way of feeling and seeing the world, on our psyche. Wearing my pink dress I felt not just like a princess, but I felt powerful and beautiful. I felt I could conquer the world if I wanted to… I would even dare say I felt closer to my true self than I’ve ever been. And every single aspect of the dress helped: even the sound of the tulle when I moved, the swish of the skirt touching the ground when I walked, and the way the fabric hugged my waist and hung down to cover my feet.
But after the night was over and I had to come back home and take the dress off, in the best Cinderella fashion, all the magic disappeared. And although I keep going back to that night, looking at the pictures, and trying to remember how I felt, it just doesn’t feel the same when you’re wearing jeans or a coat or even a tweed skirt.
So now I understand.
My sister didn’t wear her costume because she liked the discomfort of the sequins. Nor did she wear it because she was too bizarre of a child—even though I always thought she somehow was. She wore it because it allowed her to feel empowered and beautiful and all the good things we sometimes struggle to achieve in the boring clothes we wear in our normal life.
But if normal-life clothes are boring, then how are we expected to live happily ever after?
I would say that the main reason I felt so empowered in my pink dress was because I bought it without thinking of other people’s opinions, without considering what’s trendy or not, and even without worrying about it being “too much.” I bought it because the moment I saw it on me everything disappeared, time stopped passing by, and all my senses immersed completely in the beauty of the experience. It was pure magic.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem possible to wear a dress like my pink beauty everyday because it truly would be too much. But the magic, I believe, is what should rule our everyday dressing practices. Our clothing should always give us that unstoppable feeling of empowerment, and getting dressed should include struggling to achieve that feeling of pure satisfaction, of pure joy, of being true to one’s self.
So I’ve decided, at least for now, to forget about the trends and what’s the newest “it” item or what’s the latest arrival on Moda Operandi or Net-A-Porter and, instead, find some truth through my clothes. I’ve decided I want to express my own sense of art, my personality and my beliefs through the clothes I wear. And, what’s even more important, I want to engage in a sartorial exploration that, instead of subjecting me to the anxiety of keeping up with ever-changing trends, allows me to find my true self through one of the social phenomena that fascinates me the most: fashion.